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Waking Up From Autopilot

Selvia Tjandra-Stothers

My "wake up" moment happened after I listened to the Chris Barez-Brown podcast, Escaping Life on Autopilot on my way to work. 

Chris Barez-Brown is an author and founder of an app called Wake-Up!

In his book, he writes about how studies shows that 80% of people spend a majority of their time on "autopilot", and if you are like me, you've probably had the same morning routine for years. From sitting on the same seat on the train, taking the same route to or from work, or having the same breakfast everyday, we are unconsciously living on autopilot. He also talks about helping people be more aware and connected and how living consciously and enjoying the journey can help us find balance, energy, and a positive outlook in all that we do.

Eager to change my own auto-pilot life, I tried his workshop for 4 weeks and this is what happened:

During my first week, I tried hard to increase my awareness. I paid more attention to what surrounds me, watching passengers waiting for the train, smelling fresh brewed coffee from a little coffee shop on Madison Avenue and so on. I even tried to read every sign on the street. I'm not going to lie, it was so challenging for me because I'm used to my mind wandering, thinking about anything that pops in my mind while walking around.

My second week, I began to see familiar faces, the same faces who ride the 8:46am train, or the guy who handing out flyers in the corner of 57th Street and 6 Avenue.

My third week, I realized that I began to have interactions with people I was seeing, either with a smile, nod, or even a “good morning.” Some of them responded, saying “how are you?” or even beginning a small conversation with me. My morning had become more lively, and surprisingly enjoyable. 

By my fourth week, I realized I felt so much happier than I was 3 weeks ago. I noticed that Smiley Deli on 53rd offers free coffee with your breakfast purchase. In front of the IBM building I saw Alexander Calder’s piece (pictured), an artist who also has a bunch of large scale pieces in the Storm King Art Center that I love to visit. What surprised me the most is that I feelmore alive, I appreciate things I see, I'm grateful, and I feel more connected to other people and to myself. Above all, I feel empowered!

I don’t feel like I have the same routine everyday. Because the sky is not always gray, the seasons change, and Bergdorf Goodman’s window is different every month.

Suddenly I'm enjoying my journey…. to my destination.

 

 

 

Some inspiring podcasts I’ve enjoyed listened in the past:

 


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